Asia's Olympic Chief Calls for Hijab to be Allowed

Asia's Olympic chief urges all sports to let women wear hijab headscarf, after Qatar's basketball team quits Asian Games in fury.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Woman in Hijab
Woman in Hijab

Asia's Olympic chief has urged all sports to let women wear the Islamic hijab headscarf, after an Asian Games row which saw Qatar's basketball team quit in fury, AFP reports.

Qatar's women forfeited their matches and left after being told the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) would not allow hijabs, according to the report.

Many sports, including soccer, now allow women to wear the hijab and Qatar slammed the ban as an "insult".

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said he was upset by the Qatar episode and called on FIBA to change.

"Hijab has been approved in all sports, all the FIFA, volleyball, track and field -- everywhere there is hijab, only in basketball (is it banned)," he said.

"There is no reason to reject hijab in sport," he added, insisting there was "no difference" between basketball and football, wrestling, handball or volleyball.

FIBA recently announced that players will be allowed to wear religious head coverings, such as hijabs or turbans, on a trial basis but only in some competitions.

Sheikh Ahmad warned that banning the hijab meant women from some countries were excluded from the basketball.

"You have decreased your athletes because there are some athletes can't participate without hijab," he said, according to AFP.

"Afghanistan and Iran are not participating here because of hijab -- not because they don't have athletes."

In 2012, soccer’s governing body FIFA changed its rules to allow female Muslim players to wear head scarves, after a campaign by executive committee member Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

Earlier this year, FIFA authorized the wearing of head covers for religious purposes during matches, thus allowing Jewish players to wear kippot during world soccer games.